Pardon my long winded rant on this blog, however I feel that this PSA is necessary for every western hunter. Every year we pick our gear for every trip and we are glad to share how well we did picking the right gear for the trip. I am turning this around the other way this time, sucking up my ego! In this article I am going to share with you some of the wrong choices I made in gear and tell you what I wish I would have taken to better fit the needs of the trip that I was on. And what better time to share all of this than when the last late season hunts are wrapping up and the significant others are building their Christmas lists?!
Now let me also remind everyone that none of the gear pieces used failed or performed poorly, they did exactly what they were supposed to do. This is just a reminder that there are sometimes better tools than what we throw in the pack, sometimes it is bias towards our favorite pieces, sometimes it is ego, other times it is just that we hadn’t bought the ideal piece yet.
Now let’s move on to the gear!!!!
It’s no secret that I am a hoody guy. They are a piece of kit that has always been a staple for me and the advances in technical clothing the last 10 years has made them even more comfortable. On a late October elk hunt with 28- 50 degree temps during the day, plus the humidity of melting snow a wide variety of conditions were encountered. The wind was also brutal in some areas, especially when the drifting snow played into the equation. The Atilla II would have been perfect to have underneath my wind layer jacket or vest depending on conditions.
The hood has two points of adjustment whereas the off the shelf knock off option simply had strings. This would have kept my head just a little more warm in those conditions. The Atilla II also has the option to cinch down around the waist, meaning I could have kept a few of the breezes out when the snuck up the hoody I bright.
Bottom line, my polyester mix option wasn’t up to snuff and I should have made sure the Atilla II was in my pack with all of it’s fleece goodness to help me stay warm even when the wind was whipping when I stopped moving. You can find the Atilla II for sale during Kryptek’s Black Friday offering. If you miss out on the sale Kryptek offers a discount for of 20% for all TagHub elite members.
I normally love the sheer amount of floor space that I have inside of Seek Outside’s 12 man tipi, however this year and honestly last it was a little bigger than I actually needed. I could have gone with the Redcliff and had more pleasant night’s sleep. Here is why, the late season wind at 10K on a big Tipi creates a lot of noise. The 12 man handled it like a champ!!!! But part of handling it like a champ involved a lot of noise because there was so much material whipping in the wind. The Redcliff would have had a smaller profile which would have produced far less material
Having survived a miserable night at 13,000’ in the Colorado high country in a rain/wind storm in the Seek Outside Cimarron, I was eager to test their new shelter – the Redcliff. The Redcliff is a pyramid-style shelter, or a modified tipi, just like the smaller Cimarron. It’s a breeze to set up in mere minutes by simply staking out four corners (located two seams away from the door zipper), inserting the carbon center pole and then finishing up the setup by staking out the remaining loops around the perimeter of the shelter. It even has enough space to stand up in at 6’10” tall!
The Redcliff weighs only 4 lbs. 14 oz. (weight includes a carbon pole, tent stakes, and shelter) with a large 13’ x 8’5” footprint. The shell is Cordura 30 denier pure silicone-coated rip stop nylon shelter fabric. You can even utilize Seek Outside’s one or two-person nests if you prefer to have a floor and inner tent option for double wall protection. One of these nests will add 25 oz and there is also a mesh door upgrade available.
For more information on the Redcliff accessories and the other tipi and pyramid shelters that Seek Outside offers, visit www.seekoutside.com. TagHub members also receive a discount on Seek Outside products.
My Alaska Classic HBS from Alaska Guide Creations has been loved well. From the perfect way my 11X Sig binoculars have molded their shape into the pack to the blood stains that tell stories of yesteryear’s success this pack has told some stories, it has been loved well. Which is why it was so painful to take the brand new Ravus from Alaska Guide creations for a test drive. I wasn’t disappointed.
The first feature I liked was the forward flipping lid, which makes it much easier to take my binos in and out of. The space was still plenty as the 11x is not a small optic and over time they fit just as well as my previous bino pack.
The second feature I fell for that I liked better than what I had with the Alaska Classic was the modularity. The Ravus features modular pockets that you can put just about anywhere on the bino pack making it easy for me to store all of the pieces of kit I want with me at all times. It also allowed me to figure out if it was a habit or if having my rangefinder on the front was really the most important thing to have there.
Bottom line, I was really happy and wished that I had been able to use it all season and not just the back half.